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Scam gets customers to pay shipping for nothing

May 14, 2019 GMT

For years now, scammers have been tricking consumers out of their money using “free trial” scams. Recently, consumers have been reporting a new twist on this scam at BBB.org/ScamTracker, one that involves offering consumers a variety of products at no charge.

How the scam works

You are scrolling through your social media feed when you see an ad with a great offer. A company is doing a limited time sale in which clothing, pet toys, or another product is available free of charge. All you have to do is pay the shipping costs. In some cases, the company offers one free product and in others they say you can fill your shopping cart with as many products as you like and still only pay shipping.


If that sounds too good to be true, well, it is. Consumers report paying around 10 to 15 dollars for shipping but no products are ever delivered. If you fall for this scam, you’ll lose the shipping money, you won’t get what you ordered, and you won’t be able to contact customer service.

Protect yourself from free product scams

Be wary of deals that seem too good to be true. Legitimate companies do run sales, but if a deal is so good it’s hard to believe, take a second look. A real business won’t be able to stay afloat if it gives products away at prices that are free or well below cost.

Research the company before you buy. If you haven’t heard of the company offering the sale, take a few minutes to look it up. Search for business ratings and customer reviews to find out if there is anything fishy about the business. A great place to start is BBB.org.

Make online purchases with your credit card. If anything goes awry with an online purchase, you can dispute charges with your credit card company. If you use other payment methods, there is

usually no chance of recuperating lost funds.

Find out more on avoiding scams in general by visiting BBB.org/AvoidScams.

If you have been the victim of this or another scam, make others aware by filing a report on BBB.org/Scam-Tracker.

Visit bbb.org/canton or call 330-454-9401 to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, read tips, follow us on social media, and more!